Advice for a noob. What am I doing wrong?

New to printing, ender 3 V3 SE arrived coupe days ago. First test print of the onboard test cat went well with supplied filament but then immediately blocked the hot end. Disassemble and cleared the blockage ok.

Tried to print a Benchy I downloaded using new filament I bought that was heated and dehydrated in Crealitys 2.0 heater thing they sell but that filament wouldn’t extrude as it needed to be hotter to print (filament says 190-200c but print settings were only 145c. need to change the setting for the Benchy in the slicer).

I seem to be doing something wrong every time I retract the filament. Every time the machines getting clogged. Now the extruder is clogged so am going to have to disassemble that and clear that but what am I doing wrong after a successful print.

What’s the correct procedure to “shut down” or should I just power it off with the filament still in it? Every time I try retracting the filament and use the tool to clear it I end up with a blockage and even using the tool provided to push the filament through does not seem to help? Any ideas?

Another 2 cents from the new guy… I do not clear the nozzle after a print. It will warm up and flow at the next print. Make sure it cools down before shutting machine off.

If you removed the filament, make sure you cut the end before reinserting. The little bit of swelling will jam it on reinsertion.

If you are using the cleaning tool. (The needle thing) I don’t use it every time. Only if I have trouble.

When I change colors, I heat up the hot end and then take filament out. Insert new color. Then you can do a purge to get old color out.

BTW make sure you have the settings right in the slicer. A lot of odd things you may need to change. If you have a short bowdon tube the extraction rate needs to be much shorter than if you have the long foot long tube. (I had jams figuring that out.)


Lower the retraction distance to 0.5/0.8mm the default is too high. Yes 145C is way too low, yes set it in the slicer to 210/220. If the printer says it only gets to 145 then there is a problem, loose/broken wire, loose connector, broken heater perhaps.


This is all great advice thanks. Good to know I don’t need to clear it every time. I’ll have a go at changing the retraction distance and I think I need to learn a lot more about the slicing software and how to prepare a model correctly.

I’ll change the retraction distance thanks. The printer can get to higher temps ok I think I just need to learn more about Cura. The learning curve for this hobby is very steep but I’m getting there.

Yes it is a steep learning curve. Not like a paper printer at all.

BTW tossing out an idea… My son has a 3d printer for quite a while, and I got one a while back. I took a cheap Wyze camera and set it pointing at the printer bed. Nice to check your phone and see if the child is getting into trouble. My son also hooked a remote controlled outlet to the printer. If he sees it getting into trouble on the phone he can click the outlet on his phone and shut it down. I just got done with a 10 hour print and that isn’t anything. What surprised me the most is how long printing takes.
Figuring out the setting in the slicer is like doing schoolwork at home. There are people that can help, but if not sitting in front of you it is hard to see what is actually the problem.

Most of the times you can print dozens of files through the printer with no problems. Then one day argh. lol It is a hobby.

BTW I don’t have a dryer or expensive plastic boxes for the filament. My son told me, get freezer ziplock bags and when the roll comes off the printer it goes in the bag with the desiccant pack they come with. I just use the open bag when I swap rolls. It doesn’t have to be the same bag. I even leave the last roll on the printer for weeks until next time.

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Could be your filament as well. Not all is the same. Past few months, I have been using Elegoo PLA at a temp of 192 and it has been perfection. I used to use Overture at 200-210 and sometimes Hatchbox but the clogging and stringing was a headache. There will be frustration but in time you will have success and all of your slicer settings will be dialed in. You got this!

If you are not printing in PLA… disregard everything I just posted… >.>

I have the V3 SE also. (excellent printer for newbs :grinning:)
my suggestions:

Watch every youtube video on the V3 SE. Not only that but there are a ton of great videos on how to print.
Watch all the creality videos on creality’s website.
Read the whole owners manual.

Quick tips:

  1. Make sure the printer is set to the proper AC voltage for your country. 115vac for USA. They are usually shipped at 230vac.
  2. Make sure all the frame screws are the correct tightness. Don’t over tighten Many times the bed plate screws are loose.
  3. Only swap or clean nozzles while they are hot. 220C minimum for PLA. 240C for PETG. Use a wrench or pliers to hold the the hot end still while you are tightening or taking out the nozzle with a separate wrench. There are videos on how to do this.
  4. Learn how to do a “cold pull” for swapping filament. This is a direct drive extruder, not a bourdon tube, so the method is a little different.
  5. Make sure you diagonal cut the new filament when inserting it into the extruder.
  6. I personally use Creality Print slicer. The print profiles seem to match better than the other slicers out there. I had a lot of trouble with the other slicers when I started my 3D print journey a year ago because the V3 SE was so new.
  7. Use elmers washable school glue stick to help the models stick to the build plate.
  8. I prefer a PEI plate over the steel plate that came with the printer. I got mine from amazon for about $15 US.
  9. After printing the test prints you will likely need to fine tune the print profile using the calibration models.

I mostly use Ender or Inland filament. I have only printed with PLA and PETG. PETG can be a bit of a pain for stringing and bed adhesion. Get PLA down pat first. :wink:

This is something you may do in the future but is not required. Get used to basic printing first.
I usually use Octoprint now to monitor the temps with the serial port during print. I print with it sometimes, but I like using the SD port better.
I don’t have a wifi set up for it and may never get one. But that’s just personal preference.
Have fun and try not to get as frustrated in the learning process as I have been. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I do question this one, I have never done this on any of my 4 FDM printers.

I second that, I find Sunlu is rather stringy but Pinuotu zero strings. Find a good one and stick with it. TPU is another one that can be stringy, I stick with Overture for that. PLA I tend to go for Sunlu or Jayo, preferring Jayo at the moment for the cardboard reels.

I saw many videos about replacing the nozzle while hot because it can loosen if you do it while cold and then start leaking out the nozzle threads behind the silicone boot.
Here is one from utube but there are others.

Got to make sure the heater block doesn’t turn while taking removing/installing a nozzle. If it spins the thermal sensor and/or heater wires will likely break.

This one is better and directly from Creality

Thank you all for all your really helpful advice. As it turns out, getting to grips with the slicing software made a massive difference and I am now printing successfully. I use Cura as I watched a great beginners guide on it and I find having all the option to change per model helps a lot and getting to know what they all do and what effect they have in the model has really opened the door to all of this. The Creality slicer just seems to lack the same customisation but I may have just missed it somewhere. I’m still learning but I’m printing ok, that’s the main thing. Thanks.